Post Image: “Cow slobber” – a plant?
  • Sylvia Colles
  • 8 Sep 2018
  • Herb Garden

“Cow slobber” – a plant?

Now I know why it’s called Cow Slobber.  When in blossom, spiderwort is a gorgeous plant, beautiful blue flowers with sunshine yellow pistols and stamens.  When it is dying and laying its stems on the ground, it becomes a slimy mess.  I’m not really familiar with cow slobber, but it’s probably looks just like the decaying gooey spiderwort mess I cleaned up.  Common names for herbs often refer to the plant’s appearance or to some reputed medicinal quality.  Botanical names sometimes honor a person who “discovered” the plant.  Spiderwort’s botanical name is Tradescantia after the plant explorer who came from England to the New World in search of treasures to satisfy the avid plant collectors in England. There were two Tradescant plant explorers, father (1570-1638) and son (1608-1662).  It is probably John Tradescant, the Elder, who discovered spiderwort.

Early fall is a quiet time in the Moon Log Cabin herb garden and the perfect time to tidy up. This is the last time the perennials in the garden will be cut back.  For plants that do not completely regrow from the ground up, cutting back too late in the year can encourage new growth that may not have time to mature enough to withstand winter’s harsh temperatures.  There may not be many plants blossoming (only garlic chives), but visitors can still stop by to smell the lavender and mints and munch on a garlic chive blossom. 


Content provided with permission by Sylvia Colles. If you'd like to volunteer to help in the Herb Garden, download the volunteer form or just join us on one of the general workdays. Questions for Sylvia (about the garden) may be relayed by contacting; emails can be readily forwarded to her.


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